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NSW Broadcasting Law - An Australian first

Issued: Wednesday, 10 September 2014


NSW is the first state in Australia to introduce legislation to support the broadcasting of judgments and sentences in major criminal trials.

Attorney General Brad Hazzard said although other states such as Victoria allowed cameras into the courtroom at the discretion of the judiciary, NSW was the first in the country to pass a law creating a presumption in favour of filming final proceedings.

“NSW is leading the way to give media outlets better access to broadcasting judgements and sentences in the Supreme and District Courts,” Mr Hazzard said.

“We want the community to have confidence in the justice system, so it is important we demystify the court process by allowing cameras inside the courtroom.

“That is why the NSW Parliament has passed this new law to make filming the norm rather than the exception.”

The law creates a presumption in favour of allowing filming and broadcasting of final proceedings in criminal cases and judgments in civil cases in the Supreme and District Court of NSW with some limited exceptions. Proceedings will not be broadcast where:

  • It would reveal the identity of jurors, protected witnesses or victims;

  • Proceedings contain significant material subject to suppression orders or material that would prejudice other trials or police investigations;

  • It would put the safety or security of someone at risk;

  • The Chief Judge of the District Court or the Chief Justice has directed the proceedings cannot be broadcast because it would be detrimental to the orderly administration of the court.

Children’s Court cases and matters in the Supreme Court that relate to the care and protection of children cannot be filmed.

“I thank the Chief Justice the Honourable Tom Bathurst for his input and support in getting the right checks and balances for making the courts more open and transparent,” Mr Hazzard said.

Please note: The current process of allowing one pool camera to film proceedings will continue.